Welcome to WHIT, Wellness Home of the Future Lake Nona’s Health-Conscious Home is a Leader in Wellness Living By: Karen LeBlanc For: Central Florida Monthly Wordcount: 1,140 Revised
In the kitchen of WHIT (Wellness Home built on Innovation and Technology) music softly emanates from a hydroponic kitchen garden coaxing edible plants to grow and thrive. This fully automated plant nursery uses LED lighting in tandem with musical vibrations while delivering water and nutrients to grow fresh ingredients. Welcome to the future of wellness and it begins at doorstep of WHIT, a residence built with a new lens of home design. Located in the Lake Nona neighborhood of Laureate Park, WHIT is a project of the Lake Nona Institute, a non-profit arm that works to find, curate, and incubate innovations and solutions for WHIT.
As a test lab, prototype and demonstration home, WHIT’s healthy living ethos comes a critical time. According to a recent report from the Global Wellness Institute, the way our homes have been built over the last century is reinforcing a lifestyle that make us “sick, stressed, alienated and unhappy.” From its infrastructure to the materials, fixtures and furnishings, WHIT shows us the path to well-being starts at home. “More than 90 percent of our time as humans is spent indoors, which underscores the importance of health and wellness awareness in the built environment,” says Gloria Caulfield, Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Tavistock Group. Lake Nona was developed by Tavistock Development Company with a vision to inspire human potential in all areas of life. The developer recognizes that often important health decisions are made at home, work and in other daily environments rather than a doctor’s office and these decisions become impactful drivers of quality of life.
WHIT provides a unique incubation space where companies and entrepreneurs can test new prototypes and see how their solutions integrate with other healthy home applications. “The home is designed to facilitate a 360-approach to well-being that looks at multiple aspects of health including human performance, brain health, nutrition, activity and sleep,” says Caulfield.
I recently toured WHIT to experience its many prototypes and healthy design features from the ground up, starting with the home’s cork flooring, an anti-microbial material naturally resistant to mold, mildew and termites. Cork floors also act as a natural thermal and acoustic insulator and improve air quality because they don’t emit chemical odors nor shed microfibers.
The kitchen, designed by Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen, is the wellness hub of the home with solutions that connect, educate and inspire family members to develop healthy eating habits. An island cooktop by GE functions as an intelligent surface for healthy cooking and meal planning. Designed by GE Appliances, GE’s Island Cooktop prototype features a large touch-screen surface where users can review recipes, receive step- by-step cooking instructions, compile grocery lists and more. GE gets feedback from WHIT visitors who use the cooktop and incorporates that research in the development and improvement of other appliance products.
The wellness kitchen also features toxin-free cookware of ceramic and cast iron and cabinets crafted with wood doors and drawer fronts from renewable resources with non-toxic sealers. The Natufia Hydroponic Kitchen Garden cultivates fresh ingredients along with an outdoor courtyard that grows organic edible plants and a window garden cultivating herbs and fresh vegetables. Throughout the kitchen, UV germicidal lighting technology deactivates the DNA of bacteria, virus and other pathogens on kitchen surfaces.
WHIT’s interior décor embodies the latest design trends and healthy materials that reduce off-gassing in the home, the chemical burden that comes from products and materials emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects and lurk in paint, varnishes, carpets, cabinets, fabrics and countless other products in the home. WHIT features low-VOC paint, insulation and drywall, organic home
products and advanced air and water purification, all aimed at enhancing air quality.
The home is designed with wellness factored into every space. Serenity Cove, located just off the foyer on the first floor, serves as a meditation space featuring technologies to clear the mind and refocus the brain. Living spaces are outfitted with technology and features such as aromatherapy and biophilic sounds to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
The bedrooms are restorative and soothing experiences with circadian lighting that adjusts light levels to sync with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. Long wave night lighting and blackout shades also work to enhance sleep quality. Sleep tracking apps and technologies, such as mattress pads that monitor sleeping habits, all work to enhance rest, assisted by ambient sound devices. Sleep Sanctuary, the master bedroom in WHIT, was designed in partnership with SleepScore Labs to feature products exclusively curated and validated by the company’s sleep science team.
The bathrooms are connected with technologies that educate, monitor, track and share health metrics and include germ-killing UV lights, and a vitamin C infused shower-head that reduces chlorine.
WHIT also acts as a virtual physician’s office capable of monitoring the health of patients. Sensor technology embedded in living spaces reads and responds to cues from the human body. There are digital health technologies that give doctors reliable readings and various products to help patients manage conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
WHIT is part of the Lake Nona living lab where residents and organizations can get a glimpse into the future of wellness. “WHIT aims to get at the heart of the question: What is a healthy home? We want to understand what constitutes a healthy home and bring together entrepreneurs and organizations to foster dialog, thinking and innovation,” says Caulfield.
Since it opened in 2016, the home has featured more than 100 different health and wellness products from prototypes to the latest cutting-edge technologies to hit the market. WHIT’s current partners include GuideWell Innovation, the University of Central Florida’s Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab, Vera Iconica (kitchen), SleepScore (bedroom),
Healthe by Lighting Science (lighting), Technogym (gym), and Neuroverse (meditation room). Lake Nona Institute is always looking for new partnerships with companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs who share the same vision and mission.
To learn more or to explore a partnership go to MeetWhit.com. The home is located across from the Laureate Park Village Center at 8464 Tavistock Lakes Boulevard.